For decades, the West and Libya have been locked in a contentious dance, marked by military skirmishes and simmering tensions. The 2011 Libyan Civil War further strained these relations, making Libya a thorn in the West’s side. But hold onto your hats, because a surprising partner is stepping up to lead – Italy.
Italian Foreign Minister’s Startling Admission
In a stunning revelation, Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani pulled no punches, asserting that the West’s move to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 was a colossal blunder. This admission acknowledges that Gaddafi’s demise unleashed a torrent of chaos and conflict that Libya still grapples with today.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event in Tuscany on Wednesday, Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani described Libya’s troubles since Gaddafi was overthrown and murdered, saying he was “certainly better than those who arrived later.”
Tajani didn’t mince words: “It was a very serious mistake to let Gaddafi be killed. He may not have been the champion of democracy, but once he was finished, political instability arrived in Libya and Africa.” This candid acknowledgment comes as a shock, considering the Western narrative painted the 2011 intervention as a humanitarian effort.
Libya’s Divided Destiny
Post-Gaddafi Libya was marred by division, with rival administrations taking root in the east and west. The Western-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli and Russia-supported Khalifa Haftar-led Libyan National Army in the east locked horns, dragging foreign powers into the fray.
Amid this tussle, Italy’s stance becomes intriguing. While the West backs Tripoli’s administration, Italy’s actions hint at a different trajectory.
Italy’s Wily Pivot: The ENI Deal
Recall Georgia Meloni’s rendezvous with Khalifa Haftar, culminating in an $8-billion pact between the National Oil Corporation of Libya and Italy’s energy giant, ENI. Plans to develop offshore sites for substantial gas production signal Italy’s evolving alignment.
Read More: Meloni shows her “Russian Love” via Libya
Italy’s pivot isn’t solitary; it sets off a ripple effect. With Hungary and other countries possibly following suit, Italy’s embrace of Haftar has broader implications than meets the eye.
Cut to now, Italy is boldly taking flight, literally, as it resumes direct flights with Libya. After a decade-long flight ban, Italy’s decision to reopen the skies between the two nations is a groundbreaking leap. In September, Italy will not only reconnect with Libya but also become the first Western nation to do so. This move not only bridges the geographical gap but also signals a daring shift in international relations. Is Italy embracing Haftar’s rule? Well, it seems so.
Italy’s unexpected pivot challenges the Western narrative. The recognition of Haftar’s rule marks a seismic shift in Libya’s dynamics. Could this be the prelude to a new chapter, where Italy and other players upset the established balance? Time will reveal the reverberations of Italy’s audacious diplomatic move.